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help: Meyer lemon declining rapidly

Posted by dwittman California (My Page) on
Mon, May 21, 12 at 21:40

I planted this Meyer lemon in September or so. In the last month or so, it has lost almost all of its leaves (picture linked to below). It doesn't look like any invertebrates are eating the leaves. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Here is a link that might be useful: meyer lemon


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: help: Meyer lemon declining rapidly

The first thing I would do is to remove those tapes attaching it with a strangle hold to the unnecessary stake.


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RE: help: Meyer lemon declining rapidly

The first thing I would do is to remove those tapes attaching it with a strangle hold to the unnecessary stake.


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RE: help: Meyer lemon declining rapidly

Where in California? What is your soil pH? Looks like it needs food and water both; and clear out all the grass under the tree to the dripline.

I am definitely with rhizo on losing the stake.


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RE: help: Meyer lemon declining rapidly

Agree with the stake, and the grass removal. Citrus require lots of nitrogen, and the grass is using up all the available nitrogen, and competing for nutrients, so you're going to need to remove at least all the grass out to the canopy edge. Is your tree getting sprinkled with the lawn sprinklers? If so, this can also create problems, the tree would be much happier outside the sprinklers, and on a drip. Check to make sure the tree is not getting too much water. It also appears to be in the shade? Can't quite tell for sure, but citrus need plenty of sunshine. Lastly, how frequently are your fertilizing and with what kind of fertilizer?

Patty S.


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RE: help: Meyer lemon declining rapidly

Thanks for your advice. To answer your questions:

--northern California near Sacramento, zone 9b

--I don't know about my soil specifically but apparently soils in my town range from neutral (7) to alkaline (8.5).

--I haven't been fertilizing. I started yesterday with 3-1-1.

I removed the grass and the stake today based on your advice.


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RE: help: Meyer lemon declining rapidly

If you look in the white pages under your county you can find your local cooperative extension office.
Everyone gets a free soil test once a year- do it.

Trying to grow things is challenging enough without going into it blind, and if you do not know your soil pH and what you may be deficient in you are indeed flying blind.

It is easy, it is free, and there is not one single reason on earth not to do it.
My bet is they will also have flyers available about growing citrus in your local conditions.


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RE: help: Meyer lemon declining rapidly

cear, very few states have FREE soil testing through their extension offices, any longer. As a matter of fact, you are the first person I've ever known to say that....you're lucky! Actually, some states no longer offer soil testing through Extension at all, and California is one of those states.

That's not to say that dwitt shouldn't become familiar with his or her local office and what they might be able to offer in the way of great assistance. Dwittman, click on the attached link, then click on your county on the map. It will take you to your local office website.

If you go through the main Extension Website, you'll find information about citrus in the home gardening section.

Here is a link that might be useful: click here for Extension information


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RE: help: Meyer lemon declining rapidly

  • Posted by jkom51 Z9 CA/Sunset 17 (My Page) on
    Wed, May 23, 12 at 16:41

It's a competition for food and water, and the grass is winning.

At a guess, what is your soil like underneath that grass? A lot of times people lay down sod and the soil is just a compacted, almost-dead layer beneath it. Citrus won't do well in such a situation, and especially Meyers which are one of the hungriest plants in existence. Very few areas in CA have decent soil - we certainly didn't, LOL.

I have to say you also may have waited too long to save your tree. Especially if you, like many Californians, water your lawn as little as possible to keep it green during this year of very late and insufficient rains. In such a case, the grass will have stolen all the water from the Meyer.

Or conversely, if you water too much, the lawn loves it but the Meyer can rot. They like deep watering, but the soil needs to dry out in-between.

Meyers can be very easy to grow, but it pays to understand what their site requirements are, and to learn what NOT to do to them. Fertilizing when all the leaves have dropped off will not help the tree, and only wastes your $$.


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